The Maldives Police Services has revealed that it found a pistol and a makeshift explosive device at the home of former defence minister Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim, during a raid on January 18.
Commissioner of Police Hussein Waheed told media today that, after searching Nazim’s home using “forced entry”, the police found a 9mm handgun, an improvised explosive device, 3 bullets, and a magazine.
“We did not arrest Nazim at the time because we did not see it as the best course of action to proceed depending on his profile,” said Waheed. “However as you can see we have prevented him from leaving abroad.”
According to media reports yesterday (January 28), the former minister’s passport was being held by the department of immigration after a court order was issued.
Nazim’s lawyer Maumoon Hameed – who replaced former Attorney General Azima Shukoor this week – has released a statement this evening denying that the items were there with his client’s knowledge.
“The items claimed to have been found at Colonel Mohamed Nazim’s residence by Police Commissioner Hussein Waheed do not belong to Colonel Nazim or his family, and if there were any items were present at the house, they were there without Colonel Nazim’s or his family’s knowledge,” read the statement.
Commissioner Waheed said this afternoon that the MPS had written to the Maldivian National Defense Force to verify ownership of the weaponry, but was informed that no items were missing from the military’s inventory.
He added that the weapons were “very dangerous” and that while the handgun could be lethal, the explosive device when matched with another component could cause “large scale destruction”.
The commissioner also revealed that a pen drive had been confiscated during the search, containing information that could help the investigation.
“We are still proceeding with the investigation of the case, but we plan to file it with the Prosecutor General’s Office as soon as the investigation is done,” said Waheed.
He maintained that the service was not aware that it was Nazim’s home until after entering, but noted that they had adhered to international best practices and that Nazim was present during the search.
Nazim – who was also acting health minister and head of immigration – was dismissed from his post on January 20, three days after police raid.
Speaking to the media at the time, Nazim said that events had shown no Maldivian was assured of safety and security.
“This gives an alarming signal that entering any house, at any time and to do anything is possible. The defence minister is the most senior official standing beside the president,” he told the press immediately following his dismissal.
Police have since suggested that Nazim was questioned regarding the weapons but that he had failed to adequately respond to the questions.
Nazim is currently being represented by lawyer Hameed – nephew of President Abdulla Yameen – after Azima Shakoor dropped the case yesterday citing “personal reasons”.
*Original article updated at 8:10pm to include a statement from Nazim’s lawyer
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